If you are like most American’s, you have found your life and career thrown upside down in one way or another over the past week.  All of us heard what was going on in China back in February, but I doubt many of us ever believed it would hit so close to home so fast!

One day we were carrying on as usual and the next day, you are being told to go home until further notice.

The problem with working from home is that most of us do not have the capabilities to do all the things we do at the office long term. Many of us just weren’t prepared for this way of doing work.

But, don’t worry, if you consider the right things you can set yourself up for success even if it is from home. You just have to have the right essentials to be efficient.

I’ve put together a list of some of the home office tools I use and recommend and some other things you need to consider to work efficiently and comfortably.

Luckily, for us many of the items you need can still be ordered online even if your local stores are closed during this time.

Here is what you need.

The Home Office Necessities

Computer Monitors

Yes, I said monitors, as in plural. You probably already have a laptop but with all the various programs and web browser windows so many of us work out of having additional screen real estate is an absolute necessity.

Comfortable Chair

Believe it or not this is one of the most important parts of your home office. Research has shown that sitting in an awkward or uncomfortable position actually makes you less efficient. Buy a good quality chair with good ergonomics. Comfort counts!

Adequate Lighting

Save yourself the headache and eyestrain. Working in an area that is too dimly lit can affect your focus and your physical well being. Plus areas that are dark can affect your overall mood. Work in rooms with plenty of light or have large windows for natural lighting. If your space is in the basement buy a good qualify LED desklamp for maximum light and the most efficient use of energy.

Storage

Often overlooked is storage. Got pens, sticky notes and folders? Where are you going to keep them? Having some easily accessible shelves or a filing cabinet will keep you desk clutter free allowing you to work uninhibited.

Recommended Office Accessories I Use And Love!

Document Scanners

Being able to quickly scan documents and files is incredibly important to my businesses. The Fujitsu Scan Snap 1500 is the gold metal award winner in my opinion.  I purchased this bad boy a few years ago to help manage tax documents and it has become my old faithful.  And for comparison purposes, my business was hit with an audit in 2018, where we had to scan file folders that had no less than 150-300 pages per folder.  Our leased company printer became jammed at least every other folder scan, but my Fujitsu remained solid and not only was used as a backup for these enormous packages, but my preferred method of saving the files digitally.

If you need a less expensive option Fujitsu does have a more portable version, called the Fujitsu PA03688-B005 ScanSnap iX100 Wireless Mobile Scanner for Mac and PC. Full disclosure: I have not used this model, and therefore won’t attest to it’s ease of use or portable nature, but I feel so strongly about it’s sibling model above, and the four star rating, that I stand behind Fujitsu products and would say to try it, if it is closer to your budget.  I would love to hear what your experience is with this model. Maybe I need to add this to my travel days!

Web Cameras

My team and I communicate via streaming video frequently. We have regular team meetings and one and ones. Working from home during the coronavirus is no different. 

I recommend The Logitech Desktop & laptop Webcam.  It is a wonderful and affordable option for use at home with your desktop or even if you think your laptop camera could use an upgrade. I personally use this camera at home and at the office and have added it to all of our team members desktop work computers. The picture and sound quality are both great and at $119 each they work for just about anyone’s budget. 

Filing System 

I can’t tell you the amount of stuff I have gotten rid of out of my file drawers after switching to this simple, self cleansing system. I am in love with the ease of setting this up and getting organized. There is a wonderful instruction booklet that helped me set the system up. I found it very helpful but there are also many online videos that helped me simplify the process to get organized. In my opinion it’s the only filing system you will ever need. Freedom Filer is worth the cost.

The Advantages Of The Home Office

Just because you have to work from home right now doesn’t mean you still can’t accomplish as much as you typically would from your usual place of work. Home offices do have some advantages.

  • Less interruption from colleagues. Part of the reason I enjoy going to work is to be with my team. They’re a great group, but less daily interruptions can allow you to focus for longer periods of time getting more done.
  • Saving time and money. Think about it, no commute means savings on gas or public transportation fees if you are working in a larger city.
  • Flexible working hours. Some jobs may not be dependent on strictly a 8am – 5pm schedule. You might be able to work when it best suits you.
  • More comfort. Typically you wouldn’t use comfort and work in the same sentence but it makes sense here. Set your home office correctly and the space should be a comfortable environment that you enjoy. Plus, you might be able to occasionally wear your favorite clothes or pajamas to work.
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